ACCA's first survey to look beyond the G20 provides an insight into whom the general public trust and what concerns them about their respective tax systems
Since 2017 ACCA has gathered data across the G20 on the attitudes and opinions of the general public towards their tax systems, and the actors involved in them. Five years on, this is our first survey to look beyond the world’s wealthiest economies.
It comes at a time of uncertainty following the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, each with huge implications for economies around the globe.
Produced in conjunction with IFAC, the report reflects the views of over 5,600 people across 14 countries. Between them they will contribute more than 30% of the world's population growth, which will see the global balance of population shift out of the G20 over the next 30 years.
The challenge for governments over this period will be to fund health and social care, infrastructure development and, in many cases, the needs of ageing populations against a backdrop of resource and environment challenges.
While there are gains to be had through the development of more effective and efficient collection methods, one of the simplest and most cost-effective options will be to raise ‘tax morale’, ie the propensity of taxpayers to voluntarily engage with the tax system.
Trust is a key component in tax morale, and often the one which it is easiest for governments and tax authorities to address in the short term.
Understanding how taxpayers perceive the existing systems, and who is best trusted to help improve those perceptions, will be fundamental to building enhanced trust and, with it, engagement.
Beyond the G20
This new edition of the 'Public trust in tax' survey looks for the first time beyond the G20 and into the issues that will be most relevant for an increasing share of the global population.
The importance of tax systems in building resilient economies cannot be overstated. We know from research by the International Monetary Fund that economic growth goes hand in hand with a consistent stream of tax revenues.
An efficient, effective and trusted tax administration is, however, just one building block in the sound structure of society. In so many cases we hear that the problems lie not with the collecting of the tax, but with what happens to it after that.
A lack of accountability in government spending fosters the perception – and all too often the reality – of corruption in government.
Across the survey responses and our regional engagement, it has become clear that attitudes towards tax are largely driven by the population’s views on corruption. Trust in the system is lower when taxpayers perceive higher levels of corruption and diversion of public funds.
Understanding the negative implications of corruption on trust, tax morale and sustainable development more broadly is one of the key reasons why fighting corruption is such a central priority for the global accountancy profession.
Uncertainty about rebuilding after the pandemic is falling behind concern about global food shortages, with the very real prospect of central support being needed to ensure basic human needs are met.
Now more than ever, the relationship between taxpayers and governments, and between businesses, society and tax systems, will be fundamental to the survival of the economies that support us all, in both the short and long terms.
As well as the main report, we have produced reports on individual countries, all available to download from this site.